Freedom to Get Freaky…

I made it home from San Diego, and have basically been in a daze for the last two days.  It’s not just the Sunday red-eye that I took (and thank goodness for evening flights, because I did not want to waste my Monday on a plane), it was the previous five days of non-stop action — early mornings, late nights.  Everyone’s been asking what Comic Con was like, and I always say the same thing: “Lots of fun.  Totally exhausting.”   Which is true, because I get to meet readers and see my friends — non-stop.  That’s why I go.  I didn’t even walk the floor until Sunday morning (which was the only time it was manageable).

I spent the whole time promoting Monstress, my new comic from Image — coming out November 4th.  Almost 70 pages long, which is already more than half the size of a typical trade.  Why is the book that long?  Couldn’t I have just cut it down to even half that length?

Well, sure.  But I didn’t want to.  Actually, even if I’d wanted to, it would have been a bad idea.  The story needed that space — it needed every panel, every page, all collected into one massive issue.  To cut it up into two parts, or three, would have messed with the rhythm, weakened the story.  Sometimes, you just need to read something in one sitting.  Maybe it’s the novelist in me.  The rest of the issues won’t be that long, but I won’t lie: I take deep, deep pleasure in knowing that I have the freedom to do what I want with this book — and that I have a genius artist like Sana Takeda as my partner-in-crime.

I was on an Image panel last week, in which we discussed freedom — the freedom that comes with creator owned work.  I’ve known that freedom, having had it in novel-writing — but this is the first time as a comic book writer that I feel as though the sky’s the limit.  I can finally get my freak on.

Of course, “getting my freak on” means writing about a steampunk 1900’s Asia, imprisoned kaiju, witch-nuns, little girls who are part fox, and a heroine who is slowly being transformed into a monster.

This isn’t the only creator-owned book that I’m working on.  There’s more coming down the pipeline — I’ve had a taste, and with a couple exceptions, I’m not planning on returning to work-for-hire.  That’s fun, but this is way more of an adventure.

Here I am, creeping up on Yoda. He’s like, “Who is this strange chick?”

A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

SDCC: Day One

There was a punk hipster with blue hair juggling in front of the flight gate in Boston this morning at 6:30 am — thus began Comic Con.

Here’s one truth about this convention. There is not enough time to see everyone you know and love, and even when your friends are standing right in front of you, you might not be entirely in the right mind to even realize that they’re there.  Sensory overload, man.  And today was just Wednesday — preview night — which is easy.  Tomorrow is when this convention really gets going, and by Saturday it’ll be a frenzy.

Still, it was an amazing day.  I met some amazing readers and got to hug my friends, who I haven’t see since last year — and of course I got to chat up Monstress.  I can’t wait to show you what’s coming.  We’ve been holding back, not wanting to share too much too soon, but with the book coming out in November expect more peeks at Sana’s amazing art.

Here’s my schedule for Thursday:

  • Booth signing at 11 am — find me and Anne Elizabeth at #2201.
  • And later, at 2 pm, I’m on an Image panel discussing creator owned comics: Room 23ABC.

And now I’m off to bed!  My feet hurt!

With the lovely Anne Elizabeth. Day one of SDCC is over! We survived!

A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

Giving Maika a low five before the doors to preview night open!!! A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

Wandered through the convention center and saw Monstress at the Image booth. Had to stop and take that in.

A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

At Booth 2201, Anne Elizabeth is stroking the hairy candy brain of a zombie. #SDCC A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

SDCC: Panel + Signing Schedule

It’s that time of year again, when the happy horde descends upon San Diego.  It’s happening earlier than in the past — about two weeks earlier — which threw some of us for a loop.  I’m a slacker, man — not the best planner in the world — so if it hadn’t been for my booth-mate, Anne Elizabeth, I would totally have let SDCC arrive without doing a single thing to prepare for it.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and for those of you who drop by Booth #2201 you’ll find a ton of fun things: stickers, buttons, posters, and pre-order cards for Monstress, which is coming out in November.  I’ll be signing every day at Booth #2201, probably around 11 am, but I’ll post daily updates on Twitter.

Image Comics – Where Creators Own The Mainstream:

Thursday – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Room 23ABC
The mainstream is whatever you want it to be. Killer robots, ghosts, absurdist comedy, and space adventures aren’t niche, but in comics, they sometimes are treated like they are. In reality, they’re as mainstream as anything else, thanks to their wide-ranging appeal and the astonishing execution from Kody Chamberlain (Punks), Keenan Marshall Keller (The Humans), Chip Zdarsky (Kaptara), Marjorie Liu (Monstress), Alex Grecian (Rasputin), and Michael Moreci (Roche Limit). Come find your new favorite comic.

Image Booth Signing:
Saturday: 12-12:45 (bring anything you like for me to sign, and as much as you like)

The Secret Origin of Good Readers
Sunday – 11:00am – 12:30pm
Room 23ABC
Would you like to help your students discover how to read for fun? Panelists will demonstrate how students can create their own comics in a classroom and the benefits of utilizing graphic novels in an academic setting. They include New York Times bestselling author Frank Beddor (The Looking Glass Wars, Hatter M), writer Anina Bennett (Boilerplate, Heartbreakers), writer/editor Dave Elliot (Weirding Willows), librarian Karen Green (Columbia University), New York Times bestselling author Marjorie Liu (Astonishing X-Men, Dirk & Steele), Bill Morrison (Bongo Comics co-founder and illustrator, The Simpsons, Futurama), Peter J. Wacks (Invasion Oz, Steampunk Journey coloring book, Cyberpunk CCG), and comics retailer Mimi Cruz (Night Flight Comics).

A mini update…

I used to blog a lot more than I do now — I’ve been hammered with deadlines, which is excellent, but it means that Twitter is far more attractive: just a few seconds here and there, and I’ve made a “post”.  But it’s nice having a space where I can go deeper.

I spent all last week in Miami teaching a Popular Fiction workshop at VONA.  More than once, the students and I were asked to define Popular Fiction, and it’s simple: just think of all the genres folks love to read — science fiction and fantasy, mystery and thrillers, romance, young adult, and so on.  That’s Popular Fiction.  Because it’s popular.  And yes, we write those books and we’re proud of it.

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Here they are, hard at work on crafting the perfect first sentence.  Eleven students of all ages and backgrounds, all people of color, and super talented.  You’re looking at the future of young adult, mystery, romance, fantasy: more inclusion, more diversity.  It was deeply heartening to be part of that, and feel all the tremendous enthusiasm and energy that was being poured into the work.  And it made me reflect on my own work, and think about how I got here, and why, and where I want to go in the next few years.

Besides Monstress (more on that in another post), I’ve got four new projects that I’m finishing up this summer, all of which I can’t talk about yet but that are deeply exciting to me.  I’m also working on a new novel, which feels so good.  I love writing prose.  I’ve been so busy writing comics, I had forgotten just how much I enjoy crafting dense thick sentences, and making worlds from words.  That’s my first love.  I don’t want to get so distracted I forget that.

Here are some other photos from Miami:

What a profoundly lovely place for a reading.

A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

The amazing @staceyannchin — preparing for the VONA reading with a sleeping angel in her lap.

A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

“And through all of chaos I choose to live by love.” #miami #grafitti

A photo posted by Marjorie Liu (@marjorie_liu) on

Special Edition: NYC

Summer is here (even if it doesn’t feel like it right now in Boston), and that means convention season!  I’m making an appearance at Special Edition this weekend in New York City, and can’t wait to see all of you.  It’s taking place at Pier 94 (711 12th Avenue, New York, NY) and you’ll be able to find me at Booth J9.

There’s no limit to what I’ll sign — bring as much as you want.  I’ll be around most of the weekend, but here are the times when I’ll absolutely be at my table (along with two panels I’m on):

Saturday:
10:00 – 11:30 – signing (Booth J9)
2:00 – 4:00 pm – signing (Booth J9)

Sunday:
10:00 – 11:30 — signing (Booth J9)

Creating Comics: The Real Stories
Sunday: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM |Theater 1

They write and draw stories for a living, but what are their own personal stories? Spend an hour with a Panel of accomplished artists and gifted writers as they discuss the stories and characters they’ve brought to life and how it has impacted their own. Panelists include Marguerite Bennett, Dylan Meconis, Katie Cook, Kate Leth, Annie Wu, Becky Cloonan and Marjorie Liu. Moderated by Jill Pantozzi, Editor in Chief of TheMarySue.com.

Secret Identities: Transgender Themes in Comic Books – Collector’s Edition!
Sunday: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Theater 2

From Asgard to Gotham City, gender change has become more and more common in comic books, but comics have addressed transgender themes since the Golden Age. Join a Panel of writers and artists who will discuss recent additions to the ever-growing roster of transgender comic book characters, and the impact of transgender characters throughout comic history!